Governor Cuomo Announces Nine Awards for Outstanding Performers in Energy Efficiency

September 15, 2014

From the Office of Governor Andrew Cuomo


Public Buildings Awards Recognize Statewide Efforts to Reduce Energy Use, Costs and Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that seven public entities and two individuals in health, transportation and higher education from across New York State will be honored with the first BuildSmart NY Awards. The Awards recognize leadership and excellence in building energy performance and innovative uses of clean energy solutions in public facilities, ultimately driving down government operating expenses, saving taxpayers millions of dollars and reducing greenhouse gas emissions in support of a cleaner and greener environment for all New Yorkers.

“By taking a good, hard look at current technologies and the evolving needs of our operations, these agencies and their staff have saved taxpayers millions of dollars and helped create a greener, more efficient and more sustainable State government,” Governor Cuomo said. “I applaud these first BuildSmart NY honorees for their hard work and for leading the way by leading by example.”

Launched by Governor Cuomo in 2012, BuildSmart NY aims to reduce energy consumption by 20 percent in State government facilities by the year 2020. The Governor established the initiative by way of Executive Order 88, which also designates the New York Power Authority as the program’s coordinator. In the first year of Build Smart NY, there was a five percent reduction in energy use at New York State government buildings and a corresponding decrease in greenhouse gas emissions by more than 130,000 tons a year.

The New York State Office of Mental Health and the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York are each recipients of the Super Saver of the Year Award for achieving the largest margin reduction of energy usage in their facilities during the first year of BuildSmart NY. Five awards for Innovation and Excellence in Energy Management are being presented to the City University of New York, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the State University of New York at Cortland and the University at Albany.

Two awards for Outstanding Energy Management and Leadership will be presented to Karren Bee-Donohoe, Director of the Office of Capital Facilities for the State University of New York, and Franklin Hecht, Chief Financial Officer of New York State Office of General Services with more than 38 years of service with New York State.

Gil C. Quiniones, President and Chief Executive Officer of the New York Power Authority, said, “The BuildSmart NY Innovators Awards acknowledge the outstanding progress and tangible results that State agencies and authorities are making to reach the 20 percent goal of energy reduction by 2020. In its first year, BuildSmart NY has far exceeded anyone’s expectations due in large measure to the efforts of public entities working with the private sector to employ sophisticated energy management strategies and install advanced energy efficient technologies.”

Nancy L. Zimpher, Chancellor of the State University of New York, said, “SUNY’s infrastructure represents 40 percent of all state-owned buildings in New York, and we are deeply committed to maintaining highly energy-efficient and sustainable facilities for generations to come. SUNY is proud to partner with Governor Cuomo to bring the BuildSmart NY initiative to scale across our 64 campuses as we work to reduce the carbon footprint in communities across the state. We thank Governor Cuomo for this prestigious recognition of SUNY, which highlights our outstanding coordinator of system-wide energy efficiency, Karren Bee-Donohoe, as well as innovative projects at SUNY Cortland and the University at Albany.”

The awards will be presented at the first BuildSmart NY Innovators Summit, sponsored by the New York Power Authority, on September 16 at the Desmond Hotel in Albany. The conference theme is “Building Smarter.” Richard L. Kauffman, Chairman of Energy and Finance, Office of the Governor, will deliver the keynote address. The Innovators Summit will also facilitate the sharing of best practices and new technologies between State agencies. It will include several panel discussions and an Innovation Showcase of emerging energy efficient technologies organized through EE-INC, the Energy Efficiency Innovation Collaborative, which is a public-private partnership of energy industry leaders to spur economic growth through the use of promising and expanding energy efficiency companies.

More information on the BuildSmart NY Innovators Awards is available HERE.

About the State University of New York
The State University of New York is the largest comprehensive system of higher education in the United States, and more than 95 percent of all New Yorkers live within 30 miles of any one of SUNY’s 64 colleges and universities. Across the system, SUNY has four academic health centers, five hospitals, four medical schools, two dental schools, a law school, the country’s oldest school of maritime, the state’s only college of optometry, and manages one US Department of Energy National Laboratory. In total, SUNY serves about 1.4 million students amongst its entire portfolio of credit- and non-credit-bearing courses and programs, continuing education, and community outreach programs. SUNY oversees nearly a quarter of academic research in New York. Research expenditures system-wide are nearly $1.1 billion in fiscal year 2023, including significant contributions from students and faculty. There are more than three million SUNY alumni worldwide, and one in three New Yorkers with a college degree is a SUNY alum. To learn more about how SUNY creates opportunities, visit

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